14 March 2007

Episode Content

One of my friends was wittering about episode content based on playing Sam & Max. Valve have episodic releases with the current Half Life 2: Episodes but, in all honesty, their release schedule is so erratic and long term that it doesn't really feel that way. I suppose part of the problem, if it really is a problem, is that they expand the engine as well as produce content; obviously adding to the development time. As much as that, perhaps the Source Engine toolset just doesn't really support rapid content development (I've used it but not enough to really get a feel of producing things quickly). Sam & Max seem to have much more predictable schedules (monthly by the look of things), kicking it at a smaller price for less gameplay. It seems a sensible way to do things; the consumer is getting a game (even if it only part of a larger, spanning, game) for the cost of a cinema ticket or magazine and the developer is insuring that they can continue to pay their staff by having a monthly revenue stream.

Obviously the logistical cost of producing and transporting products to shelves is general a big chunk of takings which is why digital distribution methods go hand in hand with this. I was reading an article about Digital distribution being the only way for indie developers. That makes sense and, as a consumer, why would I want to pick something up in a shop when I can just download it online? (I get the ownership of media reason, and that's what put me off digital distribution for a while but as long as you feel you own the digital copy and it won't just vanish if you have a hard drive crash then I was fine with it). I'm still pretty much just using Steam for my downloads, I guess it's an application I'm happy with. Still me not branching means I haven't picked up Sam & Max yet.


Anonymous said...

Dunno about episodic content being the only opportunity for indie developers - they've anounced the possibility of releasing a Wii version of the new Sam & Max. (Yeah, I know. You're probably not interested... I am, though)

Probably not going to be episodic, though.

Gary said...

Fair enough. It's good to hear that Sam and Max are moving to the Wii. Though I wonder, if they haven't had a formula that people could try first, if it would have had an investment to go onto the Wii. They might use the Virtual Console (and make it episodic) but it is more likely it will be sold in shops.

I certainly would think digital distribution (rather than hard media channels) are certainly the most likely route for indie developers.